With gaming stations and computers so easily accessible, your child may not care to enjoy the great outdoors. More kids than ever are skipping a game of basketball or Hide and Seek and opting, instead, for a game of Zelda or Mario Kart. If you’re a busy parent, then you may not have time to force your kid outside, not to mention time to spend playing with your pooch. Exercise is important, and everyone needs it. So, why not get your pet and kid involved together.

First thing’s first: they must get along

Before you send your pet and your child outside, make sure they have already established a solid bond. Your child needs to be able to properly handle and control your dog. Young children are not suited for these responsibilities, and should never be left unsupervised with the pet.

Starting the process together

Whether your child is younger or older, it is important that you start the process with them. You can come up with gaming ideas together, and make sure they aren’t doing anything that would put either in danger.

Since your kid may be reluctant to get off the computer or your pooch may rather nap, you need to start things slow. You don’t want to make either kid resent you for forcing them into something they don’t want to do. So, grab a leash and start with an evening walk. Encourage your child (if old enough), to hold onto the leash. Teach him the do’s and don’ts of controlling your dog. If walking on a street, take time explaining and demonstrating the correct side of the road to walk on and what to do when a car drives by. Do this daily. Before you know it, a daily walk will be routine for everyone.

Starting the process together is a way to teach your child and your dog how to behave. Once they understand, then it’s up to you whether you want to continue helping out or turn them free. Just remember that exercise is great for everyone, and your child will learn to follow your example.

Let them go, but not completely unsupervised

Continue the daily walks, but add playtime at the end. You do not have to be present for playtime, but you can if you prefer. Leaving your child alone with your dog will let the two of them establish a strong bond. Before you turn them loose together, you need to pay attention to your dog’s actions around your child. Is he dominant or submissive? By this point, he should have established your child as another leader in the family. If he hasn’t, then it’s probably not a good time to turn them loose.

When you encourage playtime and disappear into or around the house, don’t completely disappear. At first, you should pay close attention to how they play together. You need to be close enough to the situation to intervene, but far enough away to let them have their freedom.

What kinds of games can they play together?

Wow, the possibilities are endless! It is your responsibility to make sure they have the “equipment” to play games together.

Start with something simple. Grab a baseball and a Frisbee. Let the two work on playing catch. This may not be rigorous exercise for your child, but at least his is outside. Another great game to play is Hide and Seek. The kids will need your help on this one, and your dog must know obedience commands. Place the dog in a spot and tell him to “sit” and “stay.” Grab his favorite toys and treats, and give him the opportunity to smell them. Let your child hide the toys and treats, and then your child should also hide. When the child is hidden, let him call the dog until he finds him. Repeat this process with his toys. It’s fun, and everyone enjoys it.

If you are really looking for a way for both of them to exercise, then consider setting up an obstacle course in your yard. You do not have to buy the most expensive agility equipment; you can make a course out of things from your home. Whatever you use, make sure it is safe for your pet and your child. Encourage your child to teach the dog how to complete the obstacle course by demonstration and commands. They will have a ton of fun completing and laughing about the mess-ups on the course. You never know: you may have an award-winning agility dog and trainer on your hands!

Author's Bio: 

Article written by Shelly Seigler. Find Elite pet products at low prices with Discount Pet Mall. Shop Uniquely for dog training collars, dog tracking collars, & electric dog fences